EBT, or Electronic Benefits Transfers, is a large part of the lives of many low-income Americans. Designed to supplement a household’s nutritional needs, EBT is most commonly used to receive SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), which has replaced the old-fashioned food stamps coupons.
But how is EBT designed to be used? What can you buy with EBT? What can’t you buy with it? Let’s find out.
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Table of Contents:
- What Is EBT?
- Frequently Asked EBT Questions
- How to Check Your EBT Balance (Connecticut)
- The Bottom Line
- Need Burial Insurance?
What Is EBT?
EBT is an umbrella term for all electronically issued benefits. FA (Family Assistance) and SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program) are the most commonly used benefits.
Your monthly benefits will be paid into an online electronic account, and you can make payments with a plastic payment card, like a debit or credit card. You can’t use this card to withdraw cash, but you can use it to check your EBT balance at an ATM.
The rules of using EBT seem to be simple – the cash benefits are designed to pay for food, and food only. However, this rule does create a few gray areas. For example, what is classed as food – aside from the obvious?
Can you buy baby food or pet food? What about fast food or restaurant food? Let’s briefly look over what you can and can’t buy with EBT.
Here’s what you can buy with EBT:
- Fruit and vegetables (frozen, canned, or fresh)
- Meat, poultry, fish, and seafood
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, etc)
- Non-dairy products
- Snack foods (chips, ice cream, etc)
- Baby food and formula
- Bread, cereals, and grains
- Baking ingredients (flour, sugar, etc)
- Non-alcoholic beverages (juice, soda, instant coffee, coffee beans, etc)
Essentially, any whole food or food ingredient will be covered by your EBT balance. If you’re not sure whether a particular food item is covered by EBt in your state, call the customer service number on the back of your EBT card.
Here’s what you can’t buy with EBT:
- Alcoholic beverages
- Tobacco products
- Lottery tickets/gambling
- Pet food/live animals
- Medicines, supplements, or vitamins
- Hot, preprepared food and drinks (hot coffee from a coffee shop, rotisserie chickens, etc)
- Fast food and restaurant food (there may be exceptions made if you’re not able to prepare food for yourself at home)
- Household supplies (cleaning products, paper goods, etc)
- Electronics, clothing, cosmetics, or other personal items
- Hygiene and grooming products (soap, shampoo, etc)
While some of these items are fairly self-explanatory (it’s obvious that you shouldn’t use your food stamp money to buy alcohol or tobacco), there are still some essential items that aren’t covered by your EBT.
So, how should you go about getting household goods such as cleaning products, paper goods, and hygiene products? What about medicines?
While you may be able to get some benefits to help with hygiene products and medicines (Medicaid, for example), you may need to use your own money to buy non-food groceries, and use your EBT card to only buy food groceries.
You can also use your EBT card online to buy approved goods. However, you will need to have another method of payment, like a debit or credit card, attached to your account.
This is because while your EBT card will cover the cost of your food groceries, it won’t cover other charges, like delivery fees.
Frequently Asked EBT Questions
EBT is used all over America, and you can use your EBT in all fifty states. However, each state may have its own rules and regulations when it comes to how you can use your benefits.
While you shouldn’t expect large changes, it’s good to check up on a state’s rules on EBT before you move or travel. Check out ahead of time where you can use your EBT card, and what you can buy.
- How can I check my EBT balance in Connecticut?
The easiest way to check your EBT card balance is to review your last receipt or check at an ATM. We’ll discuss how to check your EBT balance online later in this article. If you’re having difficulties, call the customer service number at 1-888-328-2666.
- Where can I use my EBT card in Connecticut?
Most mainstream stores accept EBT cards. You can use your benefits at large stores like Walmart, online at Amazon, and at many ShopRite stores.
How to Check Your EBT Balance (Connecticut)
You should be able to check your closing EBT balance by reviewing your last receipt. Of course, there are all kinds of reasons why you may not be able to get to your latest receipt. Alternatively, you might want to check extra information.
Most EBT users prefer to log in to their online accounts to check their balances. It’s quick and easy if you have your details all ready, and allows you to review other information besides your balance.
Here’s how to get onto your online EBT account in Connecticut:
- Step One: Start by visiting this site. You’ll be taken directly to a login page, where you can enter your user ID and password. Then you can log onto your EBT account.
- Step Two: If you’ve forgotten your user ID, click on the “forgot user ID” option below the login button. Enter your ZIP code, PIN number, and EBT card number. Then you’ll need to correctly answer the security questions you set up when you created your account, and your user ID will then be emailed to you.
- Step Three: If you’ve forgotten your password, click the “forgot password” option below the login button. You’ll need to enter your ZIP code, PIN number, and EBT card number. Then you can reset your password and create a new one.
- Step Four: If this is your first time using your online EBT account, you’ll need to create a new account. This option can be found below the login button.
The Bottom Line
Logging onto your online EBT account is the quickest and easiest way of viewing your balance, presuming that you don’t have a receipt to hand, of course!
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